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Health: some plant-based food supplements are contraindicated, warns ANSES

2023-06-08T15:32:57.625Z

Highlights: National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) issues new warning on food supplements. Food supplements can sometimes cause serious adverse effects, such as severe allergies or life-threatening liver damage, ANSES says. Unlike medicines, food supplements do not have a mandatory leaflet where safety information could appear. For caregivers responsible for advising or selling food supplements, Anses recommends training in the safety and use of the plants contained in these supplements. The agency also lists all the precautions for use, recommendations, contraindications and potential drug interactions relating to 118 medicinal plants.


Aloe vera, ginkgo biloba, echinacea... ANSES warned on Thursday about the adverse effects caused by the consumption of certain


Plant-based food supplements can sometimes pose serious health risks, warned again Thursday the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), which drew up an overview for 118 plants used.

These supplements, "far from being trivial, can sometimes cause serious adverse effects, such as severe allergies or life-threatening liver damage," ANSES said in a statement.

Uninformed consumer

Unlike medicines, food supplements do not have a mandatory leaflet where safety information could appear. Only a few brief information, such as the list of ingredients, need to be indicated.

🆕 New tool for healthcare professionals: a summary of precautions, recommendations, contraindications and potential drug interactions for 118 medicinal plants used in dietary supplements.https://t.co/mvls1FJhR8

— Anses (@Anses_fr) June 8, 2023

ANSES warns that "the mere mention of the presence of plants in food supplements can sometimes be falsely reassuring for the consumer, while some plants may present a risk under certain conditions of use, depending on the type of plant extracts or the sensitivity of particular populations, such as pregnant women or children".

And food supplements are only "very rarely the subject of advice to consumers, who can therefore ingest products unsuitable for their health". To prevent adverse effects, ANSES analysed and adapted the existing statements and restrictions for herbal medicinal products, transposing them to food supplements containing these same plants, in an opinion that has just been published.

It also listed all the precautions for use, recommendations, contraindications and potential drug interactions relating to 118 medicinal plants used in food supplements.

Read alsoFood supplements: when should you take vitamins and trace elements?

From yarrow to ginger, through St. John's wort, a summary table for each plant is available online, mainly for doctors, pharmacists, nutritionists. For example, aloe vera is contraindicated in case of intestinal obstruction, inflammatory bowel disease. Echinacea is in case of pathology of the immune system or taking drugs affecting the immune system or ginkgo biloba in case of epilepsy.

To improve consumer safety, ANSES recommends that manufacturers explicitly indicate any restrictions on use related to the presence of plants on the leaflet or packaging. For caregivers responsible for advising or selling food supplements, she recommends training in the safety and use of the plants contained in these supplements. More broadly, healthcare professionals are invited to report any adverse reactions.

Source: leparis

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